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The Book of Lost Things (2008)

by John Connolly

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Book of Lost Things (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,9763291,355 (3.95)2 / 507
Taking refuge in fairy tales after the loss of his mother, twelve-year-old David finds himself violently propelled into an imaginary land in which the boundaries of fantasy and reality are disturbingly melded.
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» See also 507 mentions

English (321)  Spanish (4)  German (2)  French (2)  All languages (329)
Showing 1-5 of 321 (next | show all)
I wanted to like this more; it was good, it had lots of interesting elements, and I'm a fairytale fan, but somehow it didn't quite hit my sweet spot.

(I think my favourite bit was the Monty Pythonesque Snow White episode.)

( )
  Abcdarian | May 18, 2024 |
While some are going to balk at the stories-within-stories and the trampling at some of their preferred myths and legends, I really enjoyed this! I would suggest this to anyone with an interest in the affects of grief on a family or the affects of myth on how we view life.

Very well written, though sometimes the prose is very-- weighty, shall we say? It left me very thoughtful in the end, and I like that about it. ( )
  crowsandprose | May 15, 2024 |
This was a re-read for me in preparation for the recently published sequel (of sorts), The Land of Lost Things. Because I devoured the book last time, I couldn't remember many of the particulars, so this time round I was able to pay the story a great deal more attention, and pick up subtleties that had escaped me last time. Before I would likely have given the book five stars; because I picked up more nuances this time, my overall opinion is a bit more mixed.

The narrative in The Book of Lost Things very much emulates the voice in which these fairy tales were told, which is both one of the book's strengths and its ultimate weakness. Where we follow the main character David on his journey to adolescence, particularly where he struggles to come to terms with the death of his mother and the subsequent arrival of his stepmother and half-brother, the narration is engaging and heartfelt, and rings very true; on the other hand, the voice that depicts events in Elsewhere largely appears rather detached, so that I struggled at times to engage with what was happening on the page, even while I was able to appreciate David's character development and admire the author's inventiveness and ability to add a different spin on well-known tales.

The author has appended a number of fairy tales and myths that influenced the story, along with his thoughts, which makes for very intriguing and illuminating reading.

It'll be interesting to see how the follow-up compares to the original. ( )
  passion4reading | May 9, 2024 |
Not my cup of tea. I didn't enjoy the story, or the narration. The fairytale style wasn't my preference - I prefer more Faerie if that makes sense. It was a bit childish, I guess. Struggled to finish it. ( )
  Zehava42 | Jan 23, 2024 |
I'm still trying to decide what I think this book is about. On the surface, it's sort of in the vein of Maguire's [b:Wicked|37442|Wicked The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (Wicked Years, #1)|Gregory Maguire|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WuYKK3vEL._SL75_.jpg|1479280]: the reader enters a fairy tale world that is much more sinister and grown-up than the way we imagined it as children. Just from this angle, it's a really interesting, imaginative, sort of disturbing yarn. Snow White becomes this obese menace who roars at the poor dwarves. Sleeping Beauty is your worst nightmare with fangs. Prince Charming seems to be tragically in love with another knight. And within these retellings of familiar stories, there are new, creepy fairy tales told by the characters.

In addition to this, you have a coming-of-age story about a boy who's suffered the death of a beloved parent. His journey is moving and realistic. So I guess this book is a twofer. You get bowled over by the eery imagination of the author and you get that warm tingle from the growth and development of the boy. Maybe they seem contradictory, but that's life: wondrous and scary. ( )
  LibrarianDest | Jan 3, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 321 (next | show all)
This is an adult novel steeped in children's literature that cannily makes its 1940s junior protagonist credibly ignorant of aspects which the grown-up reader, or any modern kid, will catch at once.

Written in the clear, evocative manner of the best British fairy tales from JM Barrie to CS Lewis, The Book of Lost Things is an engaging, magical, thoughtful read.
added by Stir | editThe Independent, Kim Newman (Sep 25, 2006)
Good ideas, these afterthoughts, every one; but rather than go back and write them in, he sticks them down in the pluperfect and hurries on. The result is less a novel in any genre than a catalogue, a dispiritingly detailed outline for something Connolly might like to write, if he only had the time, or the talent, or a decent editor.
added by Stir | editThe Guardian, Colin Greenland (Sep 22, 2006)

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Connolly, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bortolussi, StefanoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ryan, RobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Deeper meaning resides in the fairy tales told to me in my childhood than in the truth that is taught by life. - Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805)
Everything you can imagine is real. - Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
This book is dedicated to an adult, Jennifer Ridyard, and to Cameron and Alistair Ridyard, who will be adults too soon. For in every adult dwells the child that was, and in every child lies the adult that will be.
First words
Once upon a time—for that is how all stories should begin—there was a boy who lost his mother.
He would talk to them of stories and books, and explain to them how stories wanted to be told and books wanted to be read, and how everything that they ever needed to know about life and the land of which he wrote, or about any land or realm that they could imagine, was contained in books. And some of the children understood, and some did not.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Taking refuge in fairy tales after the loss of his mother, twelve-year-old David finds himself violently propelled into an imaginary land in which the boundaries of fantasy and reality are disturbingly melded.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
Boy who hears books talk
is a jerk to his stepmom,
but he learns better.
Don't bargain with the
Crooked Man, even if he
offers you the crown.

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